1) IAN KENNEDY
Ian Kennedy is the exact same person he was last year and yet, he’s totally different. Good for the D-backs, bad for the division.
I told him Tuesday that I thought he was going to be the difference between a Diamondbacks team that battles the Giants all year or a team that struggles to be .500. For the first time, he embraced the pressure. Kennedy has never run from the pressure. He’s not mentally weak, but I’ve never seen him do anything but “just deal with the pressure.” Now, he understands having a desire for pressure, relieves it from others.
An ace of a staff doesn’t just win games. His production gives everyone in the clubhouse confidence. A manager knows he can go to his pen earlier with the #5 because the ace is going tomorrow. He also has a tremendous advantage over the other manager because he knows he only has to play for one or two runs. The #2 is pushed to keep up with the ace as a competitor but not save the team because the ace is struggling. If the 2011 Kennedy is on the mound, the National League West will be the second-best division in baseball.
2) ROB KLINKHAMMER
If you type “Rob” into Google, your first option is Rob Gronkowski. “Rob K” gives you Rob Kardashian. By scoring two goals in his two games as a Coyote, Klinkhammer has become the most popular “Rob Kl” in the world.
Ten hits, two goals and two wins for the Coyotes without a change in attitude from Klinkhammer. He’s not a kid though. He’s 26, so there’s some maturity and immediacy. Klinkhammer knows he’s running out of chances to stick in the NHL. There’s still a long way to go, but he’s sticking for now.
3) KEVIN KOLB
What a mistake you’re making. I don’t know if this is on you, your agent, your wife, but someone is screwing this up. No matter what you think of your worth, no matter how mad you are at the offensive line put on the field by Ken Whisenhunt, your future is brighter here.
You have three choices: Jets, Jaguars or Cardinals. If you’re choosing either of the other two teams you haven’t been paying attention to the rest of the league. If you’re going somewhere other than those three, you’ve mentally checked out and you’re accepting your plight as a backup QB. Kolb will make more money and have 0% chance for success somewhere else. I know he’s only got a 30% chance of success with Arizona, but…
4) JARED DUDLEY
Every time we talk to him on the Doug and Wolf Show, I sit in amazement of why so few athletes get it. Do whatever you can to listen every Tuesday when he joins us. If the kids are out of school, make sure they listen. Every answer is intelligent and honest with insight — yet he never throws anyone under the bus.
He told us Tuesday he was on the bus on the way to the team hotel. I asked him if he could still talk with all the guys around. I meant it as a joke because of years past when we would talk to Grant Hill on the bus and Dudley would be chirping behind him during the conversation. Jared took it differently, thinking I meant he wouldn’t be as open if his teammates could hear him. “It’s no problem. I would never say anything to you guys that I haven’t already talked to them about.”
Leadership comes in many forms. Dudley defines it.